Beshear giving the speech is in itself an admission of failure. You know who’s not giving the speech? The young, promising, telegenic former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who was the presumptive heir to Beshear’s office until he was defeated by double digits by Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin.
Conway lost 53-44. Why? Conway, led by his national party and the short-and-sweet high of President Obama’s ascendancy, backed cap-and-trade in a coal state. He was caught between social justice warriors and Kentucky voters on Kim Davis.
Meanwhile, Beshear was busy implementing Obamacare and Medicaid expansion. To be fair, he did it more competently than the federal Heathcare.gov, and rebranded it KYnect. His Obamacare implementation is why Beshear was chosen to do the rebuttal Tuesday. With Obamacare on the chopping block, Democrats desperately wanted to feature a rural, red-state success story for the ailing health-care law. Polling for Medicaid expansion and KYnect (the Kentucky exchange) is not as terrible as it is elsewhere, which is not saying much. But it also can’t be ignored that the state elected Bevin, who ran on dismantling the whole thing.
Just to make this tale a bit more of a microcosm of Democratic problems, the Medicaid expansion and Obamacare implementation— for which Beshear is so lauded that he was given this position as the spokesperson for the party— is quite fragile. Why? He did it by executive order, making it easily dismantled once an anti-Obamacare Republican was elected.